Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Movie Review
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa was a surprise hit. I'm not exactly sure why. Marginally amusing with bursts of hilarity, Bad Grandpa is like an extended hidden camera prank show - because it is - only it adheres to just a single joke. And before you balk, know that I am a huge fan of the Jackass movies.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa puts Johnny Knoxville under an impressive layer of makeup (so much so that the movie was nominated for an Academy Award) to pose as an inappropriate old man who interacts with real people, typically to hit on young women, say offensive things to unsuspecting men and even to suffer from explosive diarrhea in a diner. The hidden camera scenes are loosely connected by a narrative that has him taking his "grandson" (Jackson Nicoll) to visit his deadbeat dad.
As mentioned earlier, I'm a big fan of Jackass. Unfortunately, the Bad Grandpa character has always been one of my least favorite aspects of the previous Jackass productions. The movie did little to sway my opinion.
Given the offensive material scattered throughout, it's a surprise that Bad Grandpa manages to avoid being controversial, or even very funny. In an age where we have the very inoffensive "Impractical Jokers" using hidden cameras to hilarious results, and in the wake of Borat, which is probably a better comparison, Bad Grandpa simply lacks much of a hook. It's not a dreadful film, and there are moments that made me laugh, but most of the jokes/pranks are shrugworthy at best. The people's reactions to Knoxville's antics really say it all; they are confused more than they are shocked.
Bad Grandpa does improve a bit toward the end, especially when Knoxville and Nicoll invade a beauty pageant for little girls; the young Nicoll dresses up as a girl and, for his dance routine, utilizes a stripper pole and lingerie, much to the horror of the primarily female audience in attendance. Assuming this is real, it's a pretty ballsy prank, and pretty damn funny. The behind-the-scenes stuff during the closing credits is also fun to watch.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa has little to do with what made Jackass famous, other than utilizing one of Knoxville's characters. But importantly, it just isn't very funny. I've seen worse, but I expected more from a comedy that utilizes the "Jackass" brand.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.